Pride & protest: WPUK statement
“I was going to come here and be really fluffy, and be really nice and say ‘yeah be really lovely queer and gay’, but no. If you see a TERF punch em in the fucking face”
Sarah Jane Baker
London Trans Pride 2023
Sarah Jane Baker is the UK’s longest serving trans prisoner. Convicted in 1998, under the name Alan Baker, he received an indeterminate sentence for kidnapping, burglary, unlawful imprisonment and GBH with intent. During his time in prison, Baker was charged again. This time with attempted murder: entering his victim’s cell and attempting to strangle him to death.
Baker’s presence as a speaker last Saturday will hardly be a surprise to anyone associated with Trans Pride. His involvement in Trans Pride events, certainly in London, is ubiquitous. Active at many similar events and protests, he was recently photographed alongside MPs Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Angela Eagle and Nadia Whithome,
Here it is on video! Recorded by @dazed and reposted by London Trans Pride on Instagram.
Convicted kidnapper and torturer, Sarah Jane Baker, on the Trans Pride stage, saying “If you see a TERF, punch them in the fucking face!” to a cheering crowd 🙂 pic.twitter.com/dK9Jde26sF
— Kat (@unpopulargenz) July 8, 2023
Recorded by @dazed (1,2M followers) & reposted by London Trans Pride
Will we, as a modern democratic society, tolerate calls to assault women? And will we tolerate it when it is made in front of an estimated crowd of 25,000 in the heart of London?
In a quote from this morning, London Trans Pride has justified this threat as ‘righteous anger’:
We do not condone violence, we do not back a call to arms for violence of any kind. We do condone righteous anger and the right to the free speech that was expressed yesterday. We have and will continue to march in peace.
What of those in the political mainstream who have lent their support so loudly and unequivocally to this event? Unions, MPs, and the London Mayor? Is it really OK for the platform of Trans Pride, in the heart of London, to be used to incite violence against women?
When asked if Mr Khan supported Baker’s comments, a spokesman said:
The mayor is a proud LGBTQI+ ally and has been clear in his support for the trans community. He is also clear that violence is never acceptable.
This is not clear at all. What is required is an unequivocal condemnation of the threat of political violence made against women in his city. We look forward to hearing such a statement.
Only last summer Sadiq Khan launched SAFE, London’s latest VAWG project. SAFE promised to take a ‘whole society approach’ to tackling violence against women and girls. His campaign includes the call-out initiative #HaveAWord. Well, will he?
Khan’s failure to fully understand the threat of violence experienced by women and girls in London is exemplified by his dismissal of Joan Smith as the Co-chair of the London Mayor’s Violence Against Women and Girls Board (VAWG). Our statement raising concerns about this was signed by over 4,000 people. In this context his response offers little reassurance and worse, even less action.
The same must be asked of the many unions with flags in the crowd (Unison, FBU, Unite, NEU, PCS, BECTU, UCU). Their support for trans-rights cannot, and need not, be at the cost of women’s rights and safety. They must all now distance themselves from this incitement of political violence and reassure their women members that we are safe in our unions.
Threats against women and anti-woman rhetoric have been a feature of too much trans activism for years. As any attendee at a Woman’s Place UK event will testify, we understand what happens when rhetoric escalates to action – from large groups of masked men surrounding venues and kicking windows, to men on loudhailers, making racist, sexist, ageist and sexualised remarks about and to our stewards and attendees.
Earlier this year Baker could be found leading the chants outside the WPUK/UCL’s conference, ‘Education For Women’s Liberation’. Using a loudhailer to sound deafening alarms and shout ‘Ready to bash bigots and fash’ was aimed at the 1000+ mostly female attendees doing nothing more than discussing feminism in education. The crowd went on to surround some conference rooms, filming attendees, leaving some in a state of distress and panic.
To the politicians, who patronisingly tell women, ‘less heat and more light’; who tell us it’s a ‘both sides issue’ and that our evidenced concerns show a ‘context of bigotry’; and who run campaigns condemning violence against women and girls encouraging others to #HaveAWord – well, it’s time to do just that.
Violence against women starts with words.
Casual sexism is the starting point of normalising harmful behaviour towards women and girls.
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) April 29, 2022
We believe that it is important to share a range of viewpoints on women’s rights and advancement from different perspectives. WPUK does not necessarily agree or endorse all the views that we share.